Jim Starlin talks about AVENGERS: END GAME

Jim Starlin is a legend in comics, one of his first creations was Thanos the Mad Titan and he has stood the test of time. Growing for a villain in an Iron Man story to the headliner of his own comic and staring in two Avengers films. Jim Starlin has been on the road promoting the latest Avengers film Avengers: End Game. After a busy weekend of red carpet premiere, Jim was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and let our readers in on some of his thoughts on Thanos and the film.

First Comics News: What is Thanatos?

Jim Starlin: Thanatos is the Greek spelling for Thanos.

1st: How does it relate to Thanos himself?

Jim: If you’re Greek that is how you would probably pronounce his name, but I wouldn’t advise doing so. The Titan clearly leans toward the Romanesque spelling.

1st: When you created Thanos did you see him as being a major new character entering the Marvel Universe or did you see him as a minor villain in an Iron Man story?

Jim: Neither. When I inserted Thanos into a fill-in issue of Ironman I always intended to bring him back in future stories, as I did in Captain Marvel. As for the movies, back in 1972 (when the Titan first appeared) films could just barely do a reasonably believable space ship cutting through the ether (as long as you didn’t look too closely), let alone a ray-shooting character like Thanos. Besides, I always figured he was just too weird and esoteric to make it into a mainstream flick.

1st: As bad guys go, Thanos is among the most powerful, what brings him back to the forefront of the Marvel Universe again and again?

Jim: It used to be just me bringing him back into the comics whenever I chose to work with Marvel Editorial. Two exceptions to that are a Thor story by Dan Jurgens and a few Silver-Surfer-related stories by Ron Marz. Now it’s the movies which have him popping up wherever you look.

1st: What do you think of Josh Brolin portrayal of Thanos?

Jim: Loved his delivery and the way he moved. He must have really studied the comics to pull it off. He was never on my fantasy casting list for Thanos but now I can’t imagine anyone but him portraying the character.

1st: How close is the overall look of Thanos compared to how you originally envisioned him?

Jim: His outfit is more complicated in the movies but overall he’s still the character I designed up way back when. My only very minor gripe is the blue eyes. I miss the yellow eyes of the comics that flashed red when Thanos was angered.

1st: Thanos is a big character and in the film, there is a lot of makeup and CGI, do you think Thanos comes across with the right amount of emotion?

Jim: Are you kidding? The subtle range of emotions that Brolin and the filmmakers pull off in the two films is breathtaking. Think about Thanos when he realizes he must sacrifice Gamora to gain the Soul Gem.

1st: Although Thanos is clearly cast as the villain of the movie, does Thanos see himself as a villain?

Jim: No, and neither do I. In his comic stories Thanos has nearly as often proven the universe’s savior as he’s been a threat to it. The Titan is a sociopath, convinced his way is the right way. It’s all a matter of perspective.

1st: No matter how good a movie is, fans always say the book was better. How do you fell the cinematic version of Thanos and the Infinity Gems compares to your version?

Jim: Two different universe and two different projects. Only a fool would expect a film company to do a carbon-copy version of their story for the silver screen. I’ve worked on other film projects (that never got past the scripting stage) and, so, was prepared for changes. In the past, that was a very jarring experience. But Markus and McFeely did an excellent job of adapting and expanding. They had to veer from the letter but well retained the spirit of the Infinity Gauntlet.

1st: Now that everyone in the world knows who Thanos is, how satisfying is it to share your artistic vision with the world at large?

Jim: Very! But understand that there are several hundred people’s’ hard work and creativity between what I put down in the comics and what you saw up on the big screen. Marvel Studios, the Russo brothers and everyone else involved in The Infinity War and Endgame have taken my little cult character and turned him into one of the biggest pop icons in recent years. Nice to see your first born do well.

1st: After being the antagonist in two major films do you think Thanos has taken his proper spot in the Marvel Universe?

Jim: No, he and Josh Brolin definitely must return to the movies. Mistress Death is just dying to make her film debut. Maybe they can sneak in Pip the Troll also.

1st: Marvel has been doing a lot of recalls to their past successes for their 80th Anniversary, are there any plans to you to revisit any of you iconic moments with Thanos?

Jim: I’m afraid I won’t be doing any future work with Marvel Editorial. They’re in my rear view mirror. Most of my future stories, including new Dreadstar tales, will be coming out through Ominous Press.

About Author